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Spatial distribution of genus Berberis from Pakistan: A review over three centuries long historical records

Tika Khan, Imtiaz Ahmed Khan, Abdul Rehman, Rehmat Karim

Integrated Mountain Area Research Centre, Karakoram International University, Pakistan

Department of Biological Sciences, Karakoram International University, Pakistan

Key words: Berberis, Pakistan, Spatial Distribution, Himalaya, Karakoram, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, KPK.


himalayas_wallpaper_landscape_nature_wallpaper_1389For the first time, present study gives a composite outlook of the genus Berberis from Pakistan with spatial distribution along with estimation of total area under occupation. GE Path, Google Earth and ArcGIS have been used to calculate and project distribution area. Besides online resources, available print material has also been used to explore historical records for documentation. A total of 29 species, subspecies, varieties and forma have been reported from Pakistan covering almost 0.1 million kanals (12,700 acres). According to the results, Gilgit-Baltistan falls on the second having more diversity of Berberis spp. and reports equally. We did not find any species reported from province of Sind followed by Islamabad and Baluchistan with least species richness reported. Berberis spp. across Pakistan found in mountainous areas with higher density in the Northern Part of Pakistan including provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly called North-West Frontier Province), Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. Several anomalies continue to exist in morphology-based identification among members of genus Berberis. There are fewer species than the reported ones from the country and DNA markers based investigations are important to end such confusion. Overlapping of characters and hybridization are a great cause of mix-up across members of the genus. Berberis pseudumbellata subsp. gilgitica is endemic to Gilgit-Baltistan and has become critically endangered. Besides serving mountain wildlife as wild-herbal-clinic and dietary supplementation, Berberis spp. are great source of ethnomedication and ethnoveterinary for mountainous traditional communities.

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